Teachers looking for higher pay, better benefits
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
WESTERN BUREAU:With seven months to go before the wage freeze imposed on teachers' salary is lifted, newly installed president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Doran Dixon, has urged the Government to honour the agreement to provide teachers with a proper compensation package inclusive of improved salary and benefits.
Dixon, who was addressing the JTA 50th anniversary conference following his installation as president on Thursday night, said the teachers had made numerous sacrifices in the best interest of the nation and would wait no longer for improved salaries and benefits.
"We are preparing for the post wage-freeze era. Hopefully we won't have to wait on March 2015 to have wage and comprehensive benefits package in place. So we are holding the (education) minister (Ronald Thwaites) to task, so we hope the minister can be held to his word," Dixon said.
Dixon said he was encouraged by the words of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller during a recent visit to her office by representatives of the JTA, as she praised the teachers for the sacrifices they made to help Jamaica meet the requirements for a new standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
"The prime minister said she has not forgotten the 24 per cent that the JTA provided to get Government over the threshold required for the IMF agreement. So we now expect that when the time comes for us, we will be given fair consideration," he said.
"Jamaica at the time had no alternative and so we denied ourselves, pulled in our stomachs, bought less at the supermarket and we stuck it out," Dixon asserted.